The Steel Bridge Task Force, comprised of the American Iron and Steel Institute, the National Steel Bridge Alliance and the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials Steel and Metals Technical Committee, has named Justin Ocel, Ph.D., P.E., of the Federal Highway Administration’s Resource Center as the recipient of the 2024 Richard S. Fountain Award.

Named for the founder of the Steel Bridge Task Force, the Richard S. Fountain Award was established in 2001 to recognize leadership in steel bridge research and outstanding efforts to advance AASHTO specifications. Ocel received the award at the Steel Bridge Task Force meeting on Jan. 24 in New Orleans.

“We applaud Justin on this award in recognition of his significant and meaningful contributions to steel bridge research and the overall steel bridge community,” said Dan Snyder, vice president of construction for AISI. “Justin has authored numerous journal articles and reports and continues to provide expert advice on technically challenging topics. His contributions to the design of gusset plates, shear connector design, welding and the specifications for non-redundant steel tension members, among others, have contributed substantially to the advancement of steel bridges. Justin’s contributions are a source of inspiration, and we look forward to the ongoing influence of his ingenuity on our industry.”

Ocel began his career with the FHWA in 2009 as the structural steel research program manager at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center. His research program included a diverse range of topics regarding fatigue, welding technologies, forensic investigations and more. In 2021, he joined the FHWA’s Resource Center as a senior structural engineer providing steel bridge expertise to internal and external stakeholders.

He received a Bachelor of Science degree and Doctorate degree from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Science degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Ocel is a registered professional engineer in Virginia.